I’ve been hitting the indyref campaign trail quite a lot for the last month, and there’s another month and a half ahead. I’ve never been so involved in a ballot-based campaign before: it’s not my natural home. And while I believe that an independent Scotland will win short-term gains and create a better environment for radical social, economic and environmental justice, what I believe in most is using the energy and momentum of the independence campaign to strengthen the wider struggles in Scotland. Here are two pieces I’ve written for National Collective about radical campaigning in Scotland: why we need it, and what you can do.
Scotland is not special. Scotland is not unique. Scottish people are not uniquely disposed to be progressive, welcoming, wealth-redistributing citizens in solidarity. (Nor are Danes, Norwegians or Icelanders, by the way.) Every victory for workers – from minimum wage to the weekend – has been fought for, won, and defended by ongoing struggle. A struggle which has always been threatened, and always will be threatened, by bosses and politicians. We live in a part of the world with a terrifying degree of neoliberal consensus. We shouldn’t be mistaken in thinking that the current Scottish government, and any likely Scottish government in the near future, is anything but neoliberal.
Campaigning can be wonderfully empowering, but also exhausting! There’s a lot of work to be done, and lots of violence to fight against, but we all have capacities and limits. The best thing you can do for any movement – all of these campaigns, and the movement for an independent Scotland – is to look after yourself first, to look after all your friends and comrades second, and only then to start campaigning. That way, you’re less likely to burn out, less likely to make demands on people’s time and energy that they just can’t meet, or more likely to find these extraordinary struggles something that makes your life richer.